Joanna North Associates Ltd – Adoption Support Agency
Updated June 2020
This is work that makes a demand on many aspects of ourselves. It requires us to think clearly but it also requires that we feel for our clients. Sometimes this will mean we feel positive for our clients and subjects when we have a good outcome, but we know we have sad outcomes that can leave us feeling upset for our people. We could not do this job properly if we did not care or feel for the clients who use our service. However, we must be careful to care for our own wellbeing and at times put ourselves first so that we are not gradually overwhelmed by our work. Self-care requires conscious effort and we are here to help you with this and keep the idea alive within the team.
Here are some guidelines to help you reflect on your needs and to protect yourself from overwhelm and burnout. This is not a perfect science so don’t put yourself under pressure to have a rigid self-care plan. Just keep checking in with yourself to ensure you are aware of your own psychological and emotional process as you work.
- Do not over work excessively as this will lead to burnout. Make sure you take your annual leave and take breaks during the day. But also make sure that life outside your job includes relaxation and down time. Mindfulness practice will help, and a good app is ‘Daily Calm.’ Or ‘Mood Scope’.
- Self-care includes eating well, sleeping well and getting enough exercise combined with relaxation. Alcohol is not a good way to relax.
- Be emotionally literate and check out with yourself on a regular basis how you are feeling and what your needs are in your life whether they are physical, emotional or mental. Act on these needs.
- Our lives and families will present us with both joy as well as stress at times and this is all perfectly normal. Be mindful of when you are in overwhelm and ask your colleagues to help to reflect on your needs at these times. Sometimes this personal upset may overspill into your work. We would rather give you support and advice than have you feeling muddled. Your personal life is entirely private but do let us know if you need support. Maybe focus on practical tasks and keep away from emotional demands within the job for a few days if you can. This should help you through.
- If you have been involved in an upsetting case – take a break and some fresh air and have a cup of tea to clear your mind or do some simple tasks to distract yourself for a while. Talk it over with a colleague, your manager or contact Jo North to discuss and debrief. We take debrief seriously and no matter is too small to be discussed with us.
- Feel free to call Jo North Counselling Director for a de-brief at any time over anything. Try not to leave it until you are distressed. But don’t worry if you suddenly feel overwhelmed – we are only human in this job. Let your manger know you are doing this.
- Be emotionally literate and try to name your own emotions as you go along. Our emotions tell us important stories about our lives and experience.
- Be an emotionally literate team – Listen to your colleagues and be aware of the emotional state of the team. Support one another.
- Use your one to one Reflective Practice time to discuss complex issues that may be on the back of your mind. This is what this time is for. Or just bring a case that is demanding. In this time, we will help you with a self-care plan.
- Try to remember to have a compassionate heart towards yourself, your team and your clients. This is about mindfully working through difficulties with kindness towards yourself and others. Kindness and compassion are core values of our team but this includes directing positive emotion towards yourself too. You cannot help others if you do not put yourself first at times.